By Gerald Edelman, Giulio Tononi
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Extra resources for A Universe Of Consciousness: How Matter Becomes Imagination
Although each of us constantly moves among billions of discriminable conscious events, there are clear limits to what we can and cannot be conscious of. People who are blind from birth will never know what it feels like to have visual percepts. Before they learn to speak, children cannot be conscious of the meaning of a Shakespearean sonnet, not even in their dreams. Parts of our brain that regulate our blood pressure are constantly active, yet we have no conscious feeling of our blood pressure; to register it, we need an external device.
Conscious states are stable and coherent enough to assure that we can recognize the world around us in terms of meaningful scenes, allowing us to make choices as well as plans. Integration under Strain: Lessons from Neuropsychology Some of the most striking indications of the inescapable unity of conscious experience come from the examination of certain pathological phenomena. Many neuropsychological disorders demonstrate that consciousness can bend or shrink and, at times, even split, but it does not tolerate breaks of coherence.
My thought belongs with my other thoughts, and your thought with your other thoughts. . The only states of consciousness that we naturally deal with are found in personal consciousness, minds, selves, concrete particular I’s and you’s. . qxd 24 6/24/04 A 12:11 PM UNIVERSE OF Page 24 CONSCIOUSNESS graphical or episodic memories and with a notion of the past and the future. Inevitably, in an adult human being, the private becomes the personal, and the merely subjective becomes an actual subject.